Posted by: familiabencomo | Monday, July 7, 2008

Sweet Potato Fries & Pesto Pizza

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July celebration! We took it easy with a family bike ride to the cabana & burgers on the grill… The only thing missing was apple pie. It was nice having the extra day off to relax.

One of the special treats that I make when we grill hot dogs (all beef nitrate-free, please) or hamburgers is Sweet Potato Fries. These really compliment the meal so much more than regular fries. Plus, they satisfy that primal need we all have for fries without the added grease, starch & empty calories. Simply coat sweet potatoes with EVOO, add a light dusting of sea salt, then bake at 425 for 20 minutes (turning once).

Despite all the praises I give MY fries, I would be amiss to leave out two great posts that I saw over the weekend on french fries. Lori Lynn of Taste With the Eyes enlightens us with some new tempting flavors in a Trio of Duck Fat Fries and Peter of Kalofagas beautifully explains the Canadian tradition of Poutines in Happy Birthday Canada. These two posts alone will have me buying a deep fryer soon!

I know this the third time that I have posted a pizza here…. However, I have recently perfected my dough and thought it was important to share the extra step. You see (true confession here), I have always had trouble with my dough rising. When they say “until dough doubles” I thought that must be some arbitrary measurement because my dough NEVER doubled. So, in the past, my pizzas have been huge wafers with sauce & cheese. Then, during my last Daring Bakers’ Challenge it called for agitating the water & yeast for about 5 minutes before adding the flour – this one step has changed my life. I have now made pizza twice in one week and have actually witnessed this thing called “Doubled.” Even better, I have finally “punched” the dough. Following is my revised dough recipe:

Pizza Dough
· 1 Cup warm Water
· 1 pkg Active Dry Yeast
· 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour (optional: replace 1 cup all-purpose with 1 cup whole wheat as seen in photo)
· 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
· 1/2 Tsp Salt
If possible, use the hook attachment on your standing mixer to combine water & yeast first – mixing on a low speed for about 5 minutes. Add about half the flour, mix well still using a low speed. Then, add oil, salt & remaining flour. Continue to “work” the dough in the mixer for about 5 minutes adding flour if it looks sticky. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with towel & let it rest for about an hour until it doubles in size. Once risen, place on lightly dusted counter again, divide it in two (or more) balls & cover again for 15 minutes. Finally, dough is ready to be shaped, topped & baked.

I would like to thank Abby of Eat the Right Stuff for suggesting pesto as a topping for our pizza. The aroma from baking a combination of bread & pesto is to-die-for! The nuttiness from the pesto was a surprise scent that lingered in the air to make us even more ravenous. For the pesto recipe, please go to either Maria’s, Deeba’s or Peter’s site. They are all unique AND fabulous!

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Responses

  1. Amy, what’s wrong with posting about pizza? So many varieties, so many methods.

    Thanks for linking to the Poutines and I’m happy to see you’re back from an enjoyable and rested July 4 weekend.

  2. I absolutely love sweet potato fries. I just saw a photo somewhere recently that showed them with a side of curry sauce for dipping and thought that sounded pretty good too!

    I love the idea of pesto on pizza. I wish you were closer by so I could eat with you sometimes! There I things I don’t make here often because I would be the only one eating them. Post about pizza all you want. I love the different ideas!

  3. I love potato fries a lot!!! And yes, pizza any time please:) Pesto sounds like a great idea! Yum!

    I have a surprise for you on my blog:)

  4. You can never have too many pizza posts ;)

  5. I agree with everyone else…pizza is always good!! This sounds really good. I’ll have to try it out soon.

    Glad you had a good 4th. We did too.

    Love you, Ashley

  6. Amy, Theres nothing like the smell of a pizza in the oven! Speaking for myself I’ll never get tired of your pizza posts. Bring em on!!!
    Thanks for the link Sweetie!!
    xoxo,Marie

  7. Ooooooooh bella, I am glad to see the post & the sweet potato fries! Wish we got this magical EVOO here…coz everything I eat is heading South!! Woe!! I love the way the 5 min yeast agitation changed your life. I’m also on a pizza high these days & am beginning to enjoy dough making!! Pizza posts must NEVER come with an apology…I live for stuff like this Amy!! As Marie says…BRING ‘EM ON!!! I made a rustic artisan focacia with pesto too….thanks for the mention. Will post that one soon. Glad to see you posting again!!! Tanti baci *hugs my friend*

  8. Ohhhh… Now I don’t know if I am more hungry for fries or pizza! Both sound amazing here. I was thinking of getting a deep fryer too… Which are you looking at?

    Happy belated 4th to you too!

  9. Sweet potato fries are definitely my fav…and on the subject of pizz…can’t get enough!!!

  10. Amy can I come to your house for dinner..because I would love to help you all eat those sweet potato fries!! :) My kids would really like these too!!
    Hope your well and that you are having a full and wonderful summer! :)
    Hugs to you!

  11. Peter – Glad you feel that way about pizza! You know the only thing that could make this summer better are some of those poutines… Ever since you posted on them I have been wanting some. Nice & messy with gravy!

    HoneyB – I wonder if you just made something without telling Grumpy what it was, then maybe he would just eat it. You could always tell him later. When I have my “meat & potatoes” family come for a visit I shamelessly prepare meals they would not have at home. Sometimes it’s great, others it’s a disaster, but they are always thankful for the new flavors. Once, I literally had someone make a face of distaste when I laid out olive tapenade & hummus with pita as an appetizer. I said “just try it.” They were practically spooning it in straight to their mouths after the first taste & they were very surprised by that. However, if that doesn’t work, then you & I should have dinner together. Maybe we could swap recipes & make the same meal on the same day. That would be fun!

    Farida – My goodness, you make me blush! You’re always too good to me. Kisses to you. Thank you.

    Maryann – This is true! There may be a few more in me now that I have perfected my dough.

    Ashley – Please do! I know your nephew’s would go crazy. Plus, after you make it a few times, it becomes mindless work which is perfect for a young mama like you! Love & kisses to all.

    Marie – You will love the smell of this pizza for sure! I know how you’re a big fan of pesto – the smell is heavenly.

    Deeba – Yes…. heading south is a sensitive subject here. I bake, I taste, then I give away. It’s a cruel world when you can’t eat cake everyday. The good thing is that I finally figured out that dough thing. I “tried” making focaccia but I kept adding flour b/c it looks too gooey & ended up with flat bread. Oh well. I have to try that one again. Big kisses, bella!

    TO BE CONTINUED…… kids are up

  12. wow! I love the family photo you had as the header, so awesomely gorgeous!
    Now you make me tweak oh my my Pizza i want try making!

  13. Hi Amy – It is so much fun to be reading along, and bam! you see a reference to your own blog. Thanks for that, you made my morning!

    Now those sweet potato fries are sounding like the perfect complement to the hot dogs and hamburgers!

    Isn’t it amusing that an adjustment to a recipe can “change your life?” I know exactly what you mean. Ah we are foodies to the core…Bravo on your pizza!

  14. My dear Amy, how said Maryann “you never have too many post of pizzas” absolutely, love pizzas and this look wonderful, what big idea about the Pesto, look so yummy!!! and I love sweet potatoes too!!! besos (I have to make the dinner to childs))!!! xxxxGloria

  15. Dear Amy, yours childs (and hubby) like china rolls??? see I post yesterday are so easy and make with mexican tortillas, I think you may like dear (and the stuff we made is always better than are in the stores) besos Gloria

  16. Oh, I love, love, love pesto pizza. And even though it’s only 6:25 am, I could go for a slice! As for the 4th, we were in Atlanta, where it was hot, hot, hot!

  17. I guess you away for the well deserved break bella…& do hope you are having a fantastic time. Waiting to see pictures & a new one up there too…LOL!! You have been tagged for a music meme…donot let your heart sink; it’s not too demanding & I have let you post it WHENEVER!! Tanti baci…hope to hear from you soon…xoxoxo

  18. Oooh, so sorry about the long absence. Summertime is keeping us busy. Yikes!

    Nicole – I have no clue where to begin with the deep fryer…. Doesn’t it sound fun to have one though?!?! Do they even sell them in California? We might have to order them on-line. ;)

    Mom – Oh good. I’ll makes these during your next visit. Love you.

    Laurie – Absolutely! Come on over. We’ll have a big pizza party. But, you have to bring one of your amazing desserts!!

    Big Boys Oven – Thank you for such nice words! Please try tweaking your pizza – life will never be the same.

    Lori Lynn – Isn’t that a nice surprise?!?! I have been thinking about those fries for a couple of weeks now…. It’s torture. Also, the popcorn keeps calling out to me…. I’ll save it for a movie night.

    Gloria, darling – Thank you, thank you. I love it that you were thinking of me with your wonderful recipe that you posted. I can’t wait to try it. I know we would love it here. Muchos besos!

    Susan – Atlanta in July?!?! You know they call that city “Hot-lanta” for a reason. I love it best during the spring when all the dogwoods are in bloom. Hope you had fun. Mmmm, pesto pizza does sound good for breakfast – great idea.

    Deeba – You naughty girl! We were away for a wee-bit…. I’ll email you the details. Musical meme? I can’t wait to check it out! Tanti baci, my friend!

    Kisses to all!

  19. They do have deep fryers here. William Sonoma has one or two and Sur la Table has a couple. Even target had one. I have a clipping from an old old Bon Appetit article rating them. I will have to dig it out.

  20. I wonder if you just made something without telling Grumpy what it was, then maybe he would just eat it. You could always tell him later. When I have my “meat & potatoes” family come for a visit I shamelessly prepare meals they would not have at home. Sometimes it’s great, others it’s a disaster, but they are always thankful for the new flavors. Once, I literally had someone make a face of distaste when I laid out olive tapenade & hummus with pita as an appetizer. I said “just try it.” They were practically spooning it in straight to their mouths after the first taste & they were very surprised by that.


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